My hydration trials are continuing. Making two loaves (76% and 85% with only 10% type 85 wheat) has been really rewarding and a great learning experience. I make them side by side in two different bowls and work to keep the temperatures of the dough the same so that they ferment at the same rate.
My goal is to learn how to work with a wet dough. The best takeaway has been that my 76% is really improving (pics 1 & 2). I’m getting better at building strength and structure in the 85%, but my shaping skills need more work. I’m learning how to stitch the dough, and this is far more difficult than it looks when you see the masters do it on social media.
Remember that hydration levels are all relative to skill levels along with the mixture of flours you use in your bread. A year ago, I probably would have done a test like this with a 68% dough and a 75% dough. I actually wish I’d thought of it. And remember that the masters we all revere continue to do tests on their own to up their game too. It’s why this craft is so fun and challenging.